One of Atlanta’s, and the nations most prominent spiritual leaders, Bishop Eddie Long, is now embroiled in scandal. According to this latest shocking news, Long allegedly engaged in sexually coercion of at least two of his followers. In suits filed Tuesday at the Dekalb County Courthouse in Georgia, two male congregation members accused Long of using his position of power to force them into any number of sexual acts.
At a time when people need positive messages, spiritual and uplifting guidance, it seems leaders at every turn reveal nothing but the darker side of possibility. If the allegations against Long are proven, this will be a staggering blow to one of the most dynamic and stellar community and religious missions in America.
Though Long is no stranger to controversy, this latest scandal would surely prove disastrous for he and his congregation. Long has been labeled a honosexual by some before, but the stain of this kind of activity will taint far more than Long’s credibility there. Suggestive of Long’s influence and position among African American ministers, In 2006, he hosted and officiate the funeral for Mrs. Coretta Scott King at the request of the Dr.’s family.
Long’s attorneys told the Atlanta Journal Constitution Long “categorically denies the allegations. The 17- and 18-year-old members of Long’s New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia (at the time of the alleged offenses), where upwards of 25,000 members cling to Long’s every word, claim Long used his “spiritual authority” over them to satisfy his sexual urges. Long and this church were under some scrutiny too over financing, just the 10,000 seat cathedral in Lithonia reportedly cost $50 million to build.
Apparently attorneys for the two men feel they have a strong case against Long, but there at least one of the plaintiffs may have had other causes for filing, having been charged with a break in at Long’s office. The back and forth having already begun, B.J. Bernstein, one attorney for Long’s accusers, suggested the break in was a way of lashing out at Long.
Regardless of the outcome of the case, Long’s followers have to be shocked. What a bad time for trusted leaders like Long to be so implicated.